Huawei’s 2018 Global Connectivity Index Shows AI is Redefining Connectivity and Economic Growth

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 — Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key driver in the preparation for the digital economy and could almost double the value of the global digital economy to $23 trillion by 2025 from $12.9 trillion in 2017 according to new research from Huawei published in its 2018 Global Connectivity Index (GCI). The 5th edition notes that most nations face a challenge as they prepare to take on the digital economy, posed by the scarcity of AI talent in the EU and at the global level.  

For the past five years, the GCI has tracked investment trends in ICT infrastructure and the relationship between digital progress and economic growth. In 2018, Huawei expanded the scope of the study from 50 to 79 countries to explore the way in which these countries are deploying broadband networks and investing in a range of enabling technologies that drive the digital transformation of industry, cities and government.

These countries have been divided into Starters, Adopters and Frontrunners. Among the Frontrunners, there are 11 EU Member States followed by 14 Member States that ranked as Adopters. One of the Frontrunners, Ireland has been investing in AI considerably thus gaining a competitive edge in the digital economy. At year-end 2017, Ireland had 66 companies working on AI, employing 2,500 people and taking advantage of the country’s growing computing power thus leading the way to becoming the EU’s AI Hub.

Another Frontrunner, the UK, has been deploying ICT infrastructure significantly in recent years and has been focusing on becoming a global leader in 5G. From the pool of Adopters, Slovenia is considered a top three mover in this year’s index alongside Egypt and China.

To enable policy makers to tap into the $23 trillion value of the global digital economy, GCI 2018 includes an AI readiness index based on three key components: computing power, labeled data, and algorithms. The big challenge for all three GCI clusters is scarcity of AI developer talent. EU governments need to account for digital skills as they put forward their education plans to ensure that the future workplace is ready for AI and to start building a healthy, collaborative, and open AI ecosystem to attract and retain competitive AI talent.

“We are now witnessing a paradigm shift initiated by AI,” said Kevin Zhang, President of Huawei Corporate Marketing. “According to the GCI study, advanced economies that saw growth from ICT development plateau are using Intelligent Connectivity to open new opportunities, while some developing economies are also finding ways to tap the new technology to speed up their own strategic growth plans.”

In 2018, Huawei will publish the GCI series including: the GCI 2018 report (Tap into New Growth with Intelligent Connectivity), Digital Spillover report(Measuring the true impact of the Digital Economy), and ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark report.

You can find out more information and download the Global Connectivity Index 2018 here and here

Tina Bielawska Public Affairs Director at Ogilvy & Social.Lab
Yingying Li Huawei Spokesperson at Huawei Europe